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Biden meets with TV anchors ahead of joint address

President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE met with a select group of television anchors Wednesday, prior to his first speech before a joint session of Congress.

“As is tradition before a meeting to a Joint Session of Congress, the president today held an off the record briefing with some TV anchors,” tweeted Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperPolice investigating death of TV anchor who uncovered Clinton tarmac meeting as suicide Mississippi governor: Biden goal of 70 percent of US vaccinated by July 4 is 'arbitrary' Energy secretary: Adversaries have capability of shutting down US power grid MORE, a CNN host and the network’s chief Washington correspondent.

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Though the meeting was largely confidential, Tapper said Biden spoke briefly speak on the record. 

“When I came to office, we had a circumstance that -- we didn’t have much access to information about what the state of play was in the various agencies,” Biden told the anchors, according to Tapper. “We didn’t have -- in other words, there was little transition that took place.”

In addition, Biden spoke about discovering how bad the situation with COVID-19 was going to be, and that he did not have enough time to think about the larger projects he spoke of during his campaign, because of the seriousness of the pandemic. 

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History would view the administration's response, Biden told the anchors, as a referendum on the efficacy of democracy as a form of government as opposed to autocracy, a concept Biden has spoken about before.

The White House did not respond questions from The Hill about which anchors were invited, how long the meeting lasted or if it was held virtually or in person.

The meeting between presidents and anchors ahead of joint addresses is typical. Former President Obama met with several anchors prior to his State of the Union address in 2011.

At the time journalists, including CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Diane Sawyer and George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosFacebook VP says 2-year suspension of Trump from platform 'justified' Commerce secretary on cyberattacks against corporations: 'This is the reality' Collins 'optimistic' Jan. 6 commission can pass Senate with modifications MORE from ABC (shown here), Brian Williams from NBC and Chris Matthews from MSNBC were spotted at the White House that day.  

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE also held a similar lunch gathering prior to his 2019 State of the Union address.